My 2009 In Review

On top of SF 

I’ve given up on doing my yearly or bi-yearly goals. Why? I don’t actually do them, and I don’t actually care. I like having a somewhat chaotic life, changing my priorities and focus as I go along. Most of the time when I look back at my previous incomplete goals I’m glad I didn’t complete them, or at least I’m glad I sacrificed them for other goals. When I do actually complete a yearly goal, it tends to be because it remained important to me, not because I was constantly referring back to my goal list.

This year I’m going to try something a little bit different. I’m going to cover what I did this year and what I could have done better.

Here’s what I did that I’m happy about:

  1. I traveled. I visited four new countries: Morocco, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Portugal. I also visited some new cities in countries I’d already been to: Panama (Boquete, Valle de Anton, Bocas, Almirante, Yaviza), England (Oxford, Bristol), Spain (Vigo, Coruna), and a few new places in the US. On top of all that, I visited a bunch of cities in the US and elsewhere that I’ve already been to.
  2. I learned how to fix a moped. For a while now I’ve felt like one of my bigger deficiencies is that I was completely mechanically inept. I bought a moped, which is about the simplest vehicle you can own, and have nearly mastered it. I’ve replaced the air filter, carb, spark plug, fuel line and filter, petcock, exhaust, piston, and cylinder. I’ve also adjusted the throttle cable, brake cables, idle, and probably some other things. On top of all that, I learned how to replace the plugs and wires on my RV. All in all I feel like I have a MUCH stronger idea of how engines work and feel comfortable working on them.
  3. I made a lot of new friends. Not much to say about this, but it deserves to be on the list!
  4. I wrote and published a new book. As you probably know by now, I wrote and published Life Nomadic. It isn’t actually up on Amazon yet, but I do have a paperback proof in my RV. It’s hard to compare to my last book, since it’s on a totally different topic, but I’m proud of it and have gotten great feedback on it.
  5. My Spanish and Japanese have greatly improved. I practice my Spanish just about every day with Vicente at Samovar. Just yesterday I saw a video of me speaking Spanish earlier in the year, and the improvement is day and night. I self taught myself Kanji (and have since forgotten TONS), and hired a great tutor for Japanese. Much improvement there, too.
  6. I sold a company. It didn’t sell for much, but Conversion Doubler sold a few months ago.
  7. I relocated my home base to San Francisco. I won’t spend all year there or anything, but I really like the city and will use it as my hub rather than Austin (though I’ll be there several times a year, too).
  8. I started cooking again. I used to cook all the time back when I ate crappy food. I had a secret: add a lot of butter and everything tastes amazing. Once I stopped eating butter, cooking was less fun. There aren’t any 100% healthy restaurants in SF that I love, so I’ve begun to cook every day again. I use mostly fresh vegetables from the farm and have learned to use some weird ingredients I’d never cooked before (leeks, beets, kohlrabi, tempeh, cabbage, various greens, etc).
  9. I didn’t add any new shows to my roster. I resisted watching new shows, even though they’re constantly recommended to me. I do follow some old favorites (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office, 24), but I’m eagerly waiting for them to get cancelled so that I will be 100% TV free.
  10. I remodeled my RV. With a lot of help from my father (mainly expertise and advice, not as much physical labor as previous projects), I put in wood floors, a marble foyer, a new fridge / kitchen, and an additional solar panel (for 360 watts total). The RV Is now basically a mobile luxury efficiency apartment that doesn’t cost me any rent or bills. I love it.
  11. broke the Alexa top 100k. According to, my blog is now one of the top 100,000 most popular sites on the internet. Pretty cool when you consider the millions or billions of sites out there. I also have a lot of readers now: almost 13,000 on RSS / E-Mail. You guys leave great comments, send me great emails, and in some cases add a lot to my life in real life. Thanks for being part of this.
  12. I got up to 100 wpm. It’s been almost two years since switching to Dvorak (Wow… it doesn’t feel like that long), and I’m glad I’ve hit 100wpm. This isn’t super important, but it makes me happy.
  13. I came up with an awesome plan. This is just a teaser, really, but you’ll definitely know what it is by next year.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem like I’m doing much, but looking back on this list, I feel like I got a lot of worthwhile stuff done, and I’m better off than I was a year ago. There are also a few noteworthy things I should have done better.

  1. I should have worked out more. I used to be very hardcore about working out. For a year or so I didn’t miss more than a few Crossfit workouts. Then, in 2009, I didn’t do ANY regular workouts. Part of it is because I’ve decided I like being skinny and don’t really care about putting on muscle, but there are a lot of health benefits to working out that I’m missing out on.
  2. I’m not 100% satisfied with my travel. I had a great time and loved everywhere I went, but I wish I went to at least a couple more new countries. Specifically, I’ve wanted to go to Japan since the day I left there in 2008, and somehow didn’t go in 2009.
  3. I made a couple mistakes with girls. Without getting into details, I can think of examples where I showed more interest than was appropriate in some cases, and less interest than was appropriate in others. Not a giant deal, but mostly a reminder to be a little more aware and make sure that I’m expressing myself clearly.
  4. Productivity really dipped for a while. I’m way back on the train now, but for a couple months I feel like I didn’t make much progress. I rested on my laurels of “being a productive person” and wasted time online and on insignificant tasks until I wasn’t actually a productive person anymore.

That’s about it. There are definitely some things overlooked in each category, but I think I’ve covered the big ones. For the first year in a while, I’m not going to set goals or make predictions. Instead I’ll just focus on having another amazing year.

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